Thursday, September 8, 2011

Catching up and Cream Ale Brewday...

Part 3 on catching up... Ok, ok... I'll tell you the real reason I have gotten behind on blogging. I started reading The Game of Thrones books.. Total epic, lose track of what day it is, amazing series of books. Almost all my free time has been sucked into these books. It's like, if Lord of the Rings and raunchy HBO quasi-porn movies had a baby, and then that baby grew up and had a baby with the movie Braveheart... like that... but more epic... and bloodier... and raunchier... kinda... it's pretty great.

So I did manage to find time to brew... I did a recipe posted by a HBT member... Cream of Three Crops Ale, the style is a cream ale, and the three crops would be the barley, corn, and rice used in the mash, hence the clever name. The word is that this recipe tends to impress BMC (Bud Miller Coors) drinkers and while this isn't really my style, I didn't really brew this one for myself. I'm planning on having it on tap as a "thanks for helping me move" kinda thing. Yeah I'm moving, The HRA homebrewery is gonna have a new location... NBD, same town, more room and storage for all brewing related activities though!

I made a few small tweaks to the original recipe. Biermuncher's recipe is for a ten gallon batch, and I am still doing 5 gallons for now (hint hint) When converting to a 5.5 gallon recipe (the extra 1/2 gallon ends up getting lost to the trub at the bottom of the fermentor when transferring to keg... the price of clear beer) I shifted around the grain ratios a little. I also used all Hallertau hops bc I like 'em...

My recipe ended up being something like this:
5.5gal AG

5.5lbs American 2 row
2.5lbs Flaked Maize
1lb Instant Rice
1lb Rice Hulls (you'll def need 'em)

152 degree mash for 90 minutes
double batch sparge (no mash out)

90 minute boil
1.5oz Hallertau @ 60 minutes
1 whirfloc tablet @ 20 minutes (supposed to help clear beer.. idk if it works but I keep using it)
.5oz Hallertau @ 5 minutes (I wasn't planning on it, but with five minutes left I said, why not? and tossed the leftovers in...)

I ended up at 5.25 gallons of 1.054 which I figure to be around 89% efficiency (amiwrong?)

I pitched a packet of Fermentis US-05 dry yeast and let ferment at room temp...

Now that I think about it I haven't even checked on it since brewday... That was almost 3 weeks ago!
(also I dropped my cooking thermometer in the boil... and it's totally garbage now, ugh) but the good news is, now I have a reason to buy a Thermapen... so... much... want...

What else has been going on...? Keggle is welded. I just need to buy a few trim pieces for it and I'll be ready to double my brewing capacity... I plan on having the obvious ball valve and diptube for draining the kettle and also a combination thermometer and sightglass. I had two bungs welded in for this reason but to start I'll just set up the ball valve/diptube and plug the other one to add the therm/sight tube in the future "as resources allow"

Also, we had this Hurricane Irene thing come through. They hyped the hell out of it... "Power could be out for up to a week!" they said. Pfft, boy were they wrong! It was only out for six and a half days... truestory... Luckily I prepared to be without power or water for a while. I took all my buckets and filled them with water and left them in the bathtub (for... *ahem* flushing) I also cleaned and sanitized all my empty kegs (4) and filled with drinking water. This worked out pretty well... after a while they did end up carbonated even though I shut off the CO2 except when I was pouring... Luckily I was able to shower and charge my phone and kindle at work... Probs the best week of sleep I have gotten in a long time. So dark and quiet! Def getting a generator for the new place though... My wife did not enjoy roughing it nearly as much as I did.

What's coming up... I'ts almost fall, that means pumpkins and cider! Pumpkin ale came out great last year, not changing anything in my recipe except upscaling to ten gallons. That should be my next brew after the move. Unless I sneak in a quick cider without my wife noticing...Shh! Also doing a Beercan Chicken with one of my fav IPA's that happenes to come in a can... Baxter Brewing Company's Stowaway IPA. Super excited!

I guess that's it for tonight... my kindle is calling... Later.